# 2009-053 - Allowances and Benefits, Delimitations of post living differential regions, Post Living Differential for...

Allowances and Benefits, Delimitations of post living differential regions, Post Living Differential for St-Hyacinthe

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2010–03–30

The grievor, a member of the Regular Force (Reg F), was posted to St-Hubert, on the "Rive-Sud de Montréal". The grievor decided to move to St-Hyacinthe, a city within the geographical area of Montreal, which is a post living differential area (PLDA) for the purposes of the post living differential (PLD).

In 2005, through CANFORGEN 162/05, the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) attributed a "PLD rate" to the city of St-Hyacinthe, taking into account the fact that the cost of living there had fallen. It was not until 1 April 2008 that the city of St-Hyacinthe became a PLDA, when the name appeared on the table added to Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 205.45.

In February 2008, ie, four years after being posted to St-Hubert, the grievor was informed that he should not have received the PLD rate for "Rive-Sud de Montréal", since St-Hyacinthe had been identified as a PLDA and had its own PLD rate. The grievor was also informed that he would likely be required to reimburse a substantial amount of money, since St-Hyacinthe’s PLD rate was lower than that of "Rive-Sud de Montréal".

The grievor grieved this decision, arguing that the city of St-Hyacinthe still appeared on the list of cities included in the geographical area of Montreal.

The Director General Compensation and Benefits, acting as the initial authority, rejected the grievance, basing his decision on the analysis carried out by the expert in the field, the DCBA. The latter explained that the PLDA of St-Hyacinthe had been created because there was a Reserve Force unit based there. As a result, even though the city of St-Hyacinthe was included in the geographical area of "Rive-Sud de Montréal", Reg F members posted to that unit received a PLD rate different from that of "Rive-Sud de Montréal".

The Board concluded that, according to CBI 205.45, the PLD is awarded to Reg F members whose primary residence is located in a PLDA, which must fall within the geographical boundaries of a place of service; this provision does not provide that members shall receive the PLD rate associated with their place of service or the place of their principal residence. Accordingly, the Board concluded that the grievor was entitled to the PLD of "Rive-Sud de Montréal" because he had been posted to St-Hubert and that the city of St-Hyacinthe was included in the PLDA of "Rive-Sud de Montréal".

Recommendation

The Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) uphold the grievance by recognizing that the PLD rate to which the grievor was entitled was that of "Rive-Sud de Montréal", until 31 March 2008.

Systemic recommendation

The Board recommended that the CDS order a review of all files involving CF members with their principal residence in St-Hyacinthe, thereby ensuring that these members received the PLD rate for "Rive-Sud de Montréal" during their period of eligibility, ie, up until 31 March 2008.

The Board also recommended that the PLDAs be delimited by boundaries, exactly the same as geographical boundaries, and not have recourse to municipalities, while taking into account the cost of the method of calculation adopted by Treasury Board.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2010–12–09

The CDS is partly in agreement with the Board’s findings and recommendations. The CDS notes that CBI 205.45 did not specify the locations eligible for the Post Living Differential (PLD), but he believes that the CANFORGENs, which did have this information, should have been consulted. The city of St-Hyacinthe is mentioned for the first time in CANFORGEN 162/05, paragraph 2 of which indicates that rate reductions and cessations for this location, among others, take effect on 1 January 2006. Consequently, the grievor should receive the PLD rate for St-Hyacinthe as of that date, and not that for the Montreal South Shore as the Board recommends. Given this decision, the CDS has not replied to the Board’s systemic recommendation to review the files of all CF members with their principal residence in St-Hyacinthe to ensure that these members received the PLD rate for the Montreal South Shore for the period in question.

The CDS agrees with the Board’s systemic recommendation that the PLDAs be delimited by boundaries and not by reference to municipalities, taking into account the method of calculation adopted by Treasury Board. As a result, the CDS has ordered DGCB and 5 ASG to harmonize their respective directives in order to simplify the situation that currently prevails. They are to inform DGCFGA in writing once the appropriate actions have been taken.

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